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12/20/05

Iranian MP: 20 ambiguous points in C130 plane crash case

Tehran, Dec 20, IRNA-There are 20 ambiguous points about the C130 plane crash on December 6, said the rapporteur of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Kazem Jalali in Tehran on Tuesday.

Jalali told reporters that Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission has in its meetings with officials from the Defense Ministry and the Islamic Republic Air Force came to the conclusion that certain errors and shortcomings in the C130 plane crash are evident.

He said that the ill-fated plane should have been put under the supervision of the ground control system rather than that of the control tower.

"In our opinion, this is a grave blunder and the agents behind the move should be strongly dealt with," said the lawmaker.

He said flight technicians believe that the plane should have been controlled from the ground rather than from the satellite.

He added that his commission has not yet reached any conclusion in that respect and more studies need to be conducted on the issue.

The country's aviation fleet should be blamed partly for the shortcomings, said Jalali, adding that unfortunately, the air transportation system has not improved according to global standards.

He ruled out claims that problem in the VOR system had been the main cause of the crash and said it had nothing to do with flight safety.

He quoted independent experts as saying that allowing a plane, with technical problem in the VOR system, to fly had been a blunder, though it should not be considered as the main cause of the tragic event.

A Lockheed C130 Hercules transport workhorse, said to have technical problems, crashed into a 10-story high-rise block several hundred meters away of Tehran International Mehrabad Airport immediately after take off on December 6, resulting in the martyrdom of 108 people, mostly journalists.

The pilot of the plane had been changed before the flight -- a claim deputy chief of joint staff of army Brigadier General Mohammad-Hassan Nami has dismissed, insisting the plane had been flown by the first pilot and there had been no pilot change.

Nami said the pilot had been right to decide to return to the airport to enable overhauling or change of the plane.

Asked about the C130 plane's lacking any black box, Nami said the pilot-tower tape is at the disposal of the Civil Aviation Organization and it remains as the main document and its copy has been given to related officials for analysis.

Asked why the plane had not chosen other areas for landing, Nami said, "Pilot had made the best decision; he could land wherever he felt the plane was facing problem but further investigations should be made into the issue." Asked why the ill-fated plane, branded as a military plane, had carried civilians, Nami said, "True the plane had been an army transport plane but could carry passengers as well."

To a question on the reason behind the crash, Nami said the investigation team should study the subject and announce the result.

As for his earlier statement that the C130 planes are for transportation of parachutists, Nami said he had answers to all the questions and he would respond to them.

About the cause of the crash under the condition when the plane had technically been ready for flight to Bandar Abbas (Hormuzgan province), Nami said that's a subject under investigation.

He added that a team, comprising aviation experts, technicians, air physicians and meteorologists should study the issues.

Meanwhile, Judiciary spokesman Jamal Karimirad told reporters on Tuesday that a team of high-ranking officials from the Army as well as a judiciary staff member and a special inspector from the Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces along with an experienced judge are following up the case.

A number of Majlis representatives tabled an impeachment motion against the defense minister following crash of the Islamic Republic Army's C130 plane hundreds of meters away from Tehran's Mehrabad International Airport on December 6.

Among the victims were some 68 journalists, photojournalists and cameramen who were heading for the southeastern port city of Chabahar in Sistan-Baluchestan province to cover army exercise.

The parliamentarians have in their impeachment motion against the defense minister asked, "Based on which permission, a military transport plane was assigned the mission to transport passengers and initially on whose order passenger tickets were sold?"

Member of the fundamentalists' fraction at Majlis and representative of Tabriz (East Azarbaijan province) Mohammad-Reza Mirtajeddini told reporters on Tuesday that majority of lawmakers have not welcomed the impeachment motion.

Mirtajeddini said that for the same reason, the impeachment will not be effective and is not a proper means for investigation.

Member of Majlis presiding body Hamid-Reza Haji Babaie told reporters that Najjar's impeachment will not be suspended due to a week-long parliamentary recess unless the signatories of related petition give up the decision.

Najjar told reporters on Tuesday that he would respect any decision, made by Majlis which represented public will.

"Impeachment is a suitable opportunity for postmortem of the incident and for raising certain problems existing in the armed forces," he added.

"Whatever the result, we hope the impeachment will lead to strategies which will help us in no longer being witness to such heart-rending incidents, and people would go on their air trips with full tranquility and security," said the minister.

He said lawmakers are entitled to serving notice on, questioning, investigation, verification and impeachment and the Defense Ministry and all related organs have the duty to be accountable to Majlis.

He assured the Iranian people and the bereaved families of martyrs that the facts related to the incident will be brought to light.

The minister said he had not yet received any report from a team of 20 experts assigned to study the case.

"No report has been received from the said committee and it is soon to wait for the report," he added.

He did not rule out the possibility that a technical fault had been at work resulting in the incident, adding that the likely culprits will certainly be brought to justice.

Based on reports available, Najjar has called on the impeachment committee at Majlis to give one month deadline for preparation of necessary proof and evidence before the impeachment.

The official in charge of the committee Mohammad Qomi submitted a letter to Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel saying lawmakers had welcomed the call as a gesture of goodwill.

Haddad-Adel has not yet given any response to the call.

... Payvand News - 12/20/05 ... --



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